Training Advice: Dr Stephen Cheung's recent article on “cramming training load” sure seems to have struck a chord with Pez readers. This week we will follow up on some of the questions we’ve received following the article, along with expanding on the whole idea of block training.
It’s a no-brainer that hard efforts and intervals are the key to improving cycling fitness and performance. However, what is the best way to plan harder efforts and space them out between endurance training? Is it a good idea to cram them into a hard block or is it better to spread them evenly?
Every spring it happens. After a winter of mostly solo rides either commuting or indoors on the trainer doing intervals, the first few group rides of the year are just brutal reawakenings to the realities of the highly variable nature of racing. What are the neuromuscular differences, if any, between hard constant efforts and group races?
Much of our training is done solo – that’s the nature of our busy lives, but also our obsession to “optimize” our training by doing our workouts perfectly. That’s fine up to a point, but are we always giving ourselves the best training by going it alone and ignoring the thrill of informal or formal competition?
40+ Guys like Chris Horner and Jens Voigt, along with many riders in their mid- to late-30s, are continuing to tear up the pro circuit. While age inevitably does catch up with all of us, how do we fare in cycling performance over the years?
Whether training or stage racing, recovery is the name of the game. Many tools and tricks have been used to maximize recovery, including the chilly prospect of cold-water immersion. Does a post-ride dip really help with cycling recovery?
For amateur cyclists, one of the best reasons for cycling is the big appetite you can satisfy after a big ride. For pros, eating can be just as much a part of the job as the hours on the bike itself. We all know that part of proper recovery involves the right nutrition after a workout, but what factors affect post-exercise appetite and how might it impact recovery and weight control?
Tullio Campagnolo’s derailleur completely revolutionized the modern bicycle, giving us up to 22 gears to play with in an effort to find that ideal combination of cadence and resistance to maximize our power output over a range of terrain. But when it comes to training, does training with specific cadences have their benefit?
Time trials will always be the race of truth, where you cannot hide in a pack and your fitness and willingness to suffer is there for all to see. While fitness remains paramount, the smart racer will still be at an advantage if they can figure out the optimal and most efficient way of putting that power to the pedals and onto the road…
Over the past decade, non-round chainrings have made big inroads in the pro peloton and in the mass cycling market, led by Rotor and O-symetric. Given the complex muscular coordination required by pedaling, the theory of non-round chainrings of facilitating a smoother pedaling stroke can make sense, but what does scientific testing tell us about their performance?
Cycling is a big business and pro cyclists are rolling billboards for their sponsors. However, to a sport scientist or a discerning coach or athlete, top cyclists are also rolling labs on two wheels. That is, by analyzing their training and racing data, we can gain valuable insight into what contributes to their elite performance.
While power training may be all the rage, the high tech toy of choice for the majority of cyclists is the heart rate monitor. One important question to ask is exactly at what heart rate should one be working at to optimize training time and efficiency? The first thing to understand is the different ways by which scientists and coaches base their heart rate training zones.
While the “work hard play hard” philosophy may be a great approach to striking a work-life balance, the motto cyclists and all athletes should subscribe to leans more towards a “work hard rest harder” philosophy. Many recovery modalities have been suggested and adopted, but how well do they work for recovering between hard training bouts?
There is the old saying that ”Everything old is new again” and this can apply to much of sport science and training. While power-based training and dissecting every micro-watt in multiple permutations appears to be the dominant “new wave,” do not forget that there are other ways to monitor fatigue and predict performance that have been around for a long time and that can be much simpler, cheaper, and potentially just as effective…
Every parent, at some time or another, probably has given the “when I was your age” speech to their kids. And within any sport, an ageless argument is always how the current generation of stars match up to the titans of the sport’s history. With so much technological change in the sport, how do you go about making a scientific comparison?
August has been sweltering for much of North America and Europe, and we know that hyperthermia can have a major negative impact on our performance and even health. Many different methods have been suggested for pre-cooling prior to exercise, but some are limited by their practicality in the field. One simple solution may be to cool from the inside out by ingesting cold drinks, ice, or ice slurries. Pre-race slurpee, anyone?
The caloric intake of Tour De France riders is legendary. Media and commentators commonly refer to diets in excess of 7,000 calories and often up to 9,000 calories consumed in a single day of the race. While we know that the majority of these calories are derived from carbohydrate, what is the relationship between daily carbohydrate availability and performance?
Carbohydrates are known to be an important fuel for peak cycling performance. It’s the preferred fuel for the high-intensity efforts, and its availability is often seen as a limiter for performance. Carbohydrate drinks are therefore often used to deliver both fluids and energy during cycling, but can carbohydrates serve as a special ergogenic aid by tricking you into riding harder?
The intent of this week’s Toolbox is two-fold. As always, the primary goal is to explore an interesting scientific question. In this case, can you predict ultimate success in cycling based on test scores? Secondly, it is to honour Pez-friend Dr. Aldo Sassi and to wish him the best in his health battles.
Time trials are all about “leaving everything on the road.” You want to pace yourself so that you hit the finish line with nothing left in the gas tank. Many strategies for achieving this have been proposed in the scientific literature. The other question to ask is what the effects of ability are on pacing strategy, and whether such strategy is ingrained or learned.